Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I want to be an author. What should I do? by Melissa Ferguson

I want to be an author. What should I do?

It seemed that the second I signed on the dotted line for my book deal last October, I was getting Facebook messages with this question (well this question, plus the odd, “I want to write a book and make a lot of money and can you make me a millionaire?”).

My “#1 tip” answer is two-fold:

For the person thinking about or in process of writing the first book: Get yourself to a writer’s conference. No matter what stage you are in the writing process, get yourself to a writer’s conference—particularly one that is well-respected, includes reputable agents and editors from publishing houses you would want to work with, and includes your genre. It was challenging putting down the money and traveling through several states to meet a bunch of strangers the first time I did one—I was afraid, and in some ways felt like I was a fraud—but now when anyone asks me one tip for becoming an author I immediately respond with this: go to a writer’s conference.

Once going to conference: Make the most of your conference experience. We know these conferences often cost somewhere between $600-1500. If you didn’t get appointments with some of the agents/editors you were hoping to pitch to, then find them outside a session, in the dining area, in an elevator (for the record, I did this once, and had to give a 10-second literal elevator pitch in an elevator). I am terrible at on-the-spot pitches, and have failed miserably trying to share my bit about my books every single time. But you know what? Every single time the agent or editor just smiled and told me to send him/her my manuscript. Which eventually led to a contract. And book deal. So don’t let nerves get to you. Remember they are human. Do the best you can. And make the most of face-to-face conversations with authors, editors, and agents at these conferences, because no email can beat the power of a smile and handshake.

So, what, in my opinion, is the best way to become a traditionally published author? Getting out there to conference, and making the most of it you can.

Have you been to a writer’s conference? Which one is your favorite?

No matter what stage you are in the writing process, get yourself to a writer’s conference... #SeriouslyWrite #amwriting


Melissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an assistant professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now she and her husband are outnumbered, and her hobbies include diaper changes, chasing toddlers in parking lots, and admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing "Winnie the Pooh." She survives by Jesus, rom coms, and roughly two espresso shots a day.
The Dating Charade debuts with HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson) on December 3rd, and she’d love you to join her on her journey at